24 July 2018
24 July 2018
Zaha Hadid, London: Ambitious, Creative, Future-orientated.
The Culture of Practice
Zaha Hadid Architects changed forever when its Founder Zaha Hadid died unexpectedly in 2016 – an event which didn’t just shock those working at the practice, but which shocked the whole profession. Despite this momentous change, the firm she built up, alongside collaborator Patrik Schumacher, still remains one of the most influential across the globe. And with the tragedy came a vigour and desire to keep going. “The legacy continues. We are as ambitious and creative as we have always been,” says Schumacher.
When Hadid was alive, the firm was often referred to as having a family-like feel. And now, despite employing a huge 350 staff across its two sites in East London, the practice hasn’t lost that feeling. “The atmosphere of familiarity, easiness and support percolates through the practice,” comments Schumacher.
In the Victorian school house, staff are scattered around its various classrooms in clusters. A handful of large studios allow for multiple teams to work together in one room. “There is a nice collegial atmosphere with a lot of sharing of ideas and knowledge,” Schumacher adds.
The other building, which also contains the practice’s gallery, is located just a few streets away. Here teams work in a more open plan atmosphere and events are often held in the exhibition space which fronts onto the street. When everyone needs to come together, the office rents the crypt beneath a local church. This gives the chance for everyone to keep up to speed with the practice’s projects across the globe.
There is a culture of inquiry, curiosity and of research and teaching. Many of the staff teach both in the UK and abroad and the practice has its own research group. This team of around eight people work solely on research projects and spread the algorithms and models they develop across the firm’s many offices.
For Schumacher, this particular element of the office’s culture keeps the office in touch with architectural discourse. “We like to share our vision of architecture,” he says. “It is about complexity and urbanity and the use of new technology to make that viable.”
Author: Molly McCloy, Marketing Coordinator, Bespoke Careers